How accurate are government’s claims on forest rights in Odisha

“About 406,745 individual family titles and 5,942 community rights covering nearly 609,553 acres and 327,171 acres respectively, have been distributed till June under the FRA,” said Odisha’s scheduled caste and scheduled tribe development secretary Surendra Kumar. He added that the rate of FRA claim rejection in Odisha (24 percent) is lower than the national average (45 percent).

While the CAG report titled General and Social Sector Odisha stated, “Forest Rights Act was not implemented in the state in conformity with the provisions of the Act. Claims of Other Traditional Forest Dwellers were rejected for want of evidence in support of possession of forest land for 75 years. Thirty-five out of 51 test-checked claims were irregularly rejected and the claimants were not intimated about the reasons for rejection, thus, denying them the opportunity to file the petition.”

The report also added, “Even after distribution of titles, records of rights/ revenue records were not corrected. Titles were not distributed even after finalization. There was mismatch in reporting the progress of distribution of titles as well as the implementation of FRA.”

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